So far, I have covered five points in my case against John Owen’s preterist view of 2 Peter 3. Let me add another argument in this post. Here is my sixth objection to Owen’s exegesis.
The Conclusive Case against Owen’s Interpretation Continued
Owen takes 2 Peter 3:4 as concerning Jews only and only relevant to the men of that generation (page 134). The words of Owen are: “Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers and those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews;—some of them believing, others opposing the faith. Now, there was no particular concernment of that generation in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread of the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation; and, besides, an ample testimony, both to the one and the other, of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ; —which was the thing in question between them.” (Works, 9:134)
To state the problem briefly, such an approach to the imminence of Christ’s return suggests that Christ’s Second Coming in glory is not relevant for this early generation of the Christian era. The problem is that, if there is any evidence for the Second Coming in the New Testament, it is always accompanied by exhortations that it is near and that we are to stay awake, be alert, not fall asleep. However we explain the imminence and relevance of Christ’s long awaited return for that generation, it is clearly relevant to them. This doubt arises in light of Owen’s exegesis: how could any passage which speaks of a coming of Christ that is relevant for that generation of Jews, actually be a reference to His future return in glory?
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.